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FORMER OFFICIAL PLEADS GUILTY TO BRIBE-TAKING

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A former NASA project manager at the Johnson Space Center pleaded guilty Friday to six federal charges of taking bribes for contract information.

David Proctor, 34, was among nine men and a corporation - Astro International Corp. - charged in February after a 20-month FBI sting on contract fraud at the space agency. He was one of two NASA employees implicated in the sting. The others were businessmen.Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Gallagher said Proctor recently struck a plea bargain in which he agreed to help prosecutors in exchange for leniency.

He could receive up to 63 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines at sentencing in February.

Proctor confessed to three counts of bribery, one count of conspiracy, one count of accepting a gratuity and one count of violating federal procurement rules by distributing proprietary contract information.

Gallagher said Proctor accepted $6,500 in bribes and a computer valued at $10,000 when he was a project manager in Johnson's Life Science Project Division. He was accused of providing information to an undercover FBI agent posing as the owner of a fake company called Southern Technologies Diversified.

"He turned over certain documents that belonged to NASA that would give Southern Technologies Diversified an unfair advantage in competing for contracts," Gallagher said.

The plea bargain also calls for Proctor to resign his post at NASA by Jan. 13. He was reassigned in February and has since worked in a job away from NASA contracts.